Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity among children in three major cities of western Libya

Fawzi Ammar Elabani, Masarykova J. Kure


Obesity has been thought to simply be related to an imbalance between
energy intake and expenditure. However, research has suggested that genetic, physiological, and behavioral factors also play a significant role in the etiology of obesity [1]. During the past three decades, there has been a considerable increase in prevalence of obesity in both developed and developing countries [2-4]. About 64% of Libyan adults are either overweight or obese, obesity progressively increasing with age, and two times more common among Libyan women than men [5]. The purpose of this study was to find out the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in three Libyan cities using similar reference standard methods.
Data were collected from the Pediatric Nutrition Clinic (PNC) - Tripoli
pediatric central Hospital - of the outpatient department (OPD), these children were referred to the nutrition clinic by the pediatricians for nutritional assessment and to be follow-up by the dieticians for further nutritional treatment. Their main problems were obesity, diabetes, underweight, anemia and others. The time period of data collection was about 12 months commencing July 2014. The target cities were Tripoli, Zawia, and Geryan. The total sample included was 245 children aged from 3 to 19 years (93 males, 152 females). Association between type of nutrition and obesity were found in many studies. In this work a retrospective study was conducted to examine the effect of nutrition on obesity of children in the above mentioned cities. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reference standard was used to classify the children as non-obese, overweight, and obese [6]. Re-sults. Among males, overweight was highest among Zawia (93%), followed by Geryan (90%), and Tripoli (88%) children’s. Among females, the highest prevalence of overweight was found in Zawia (98%), followed by Tripoli (97%), and Geryan (88%) children’s. As for obesity, Zawia children showed the highest prevalence of obesity for males (90%) followed by Tripoli and Geryan (86%). Among females the highest of obesity was found in Tripoli (95%) followed by Zawia (93%), and Geryan (88%). Conclusion. There is an urgent need to establish a plan of action to combat obesity in these cities.

Key Words: Obesity, overweight, diet, nutritional assessment.

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